Don brings a national career in collaborative conservation and natural resource management to the Northwest Straits Foundation. As former vice president of government affairs, he led the Student Conservation Association’s work in congressional and agency affairs, cooperative agreements, natural resource initiatives and partnerships. Prior to serving as VP, Don was SCA’s Alaska regional director establishing its state office, and strategic alliances supporting programs in fisheries, forestry and recreation resources.
His national programs include wildland fire community assistance with the National Interagency Fire Center; wilderness management with the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute; and, invasive species treatment and monitoring with BLM.
Don served as wilderness social scientist and planner with the USDA Forest Service; founder and board chair of the Society of Wilderness Stewardship; member of the Western Governors Association Forest Health Advisory Committee; and member of the Public Lands Service Coalition. He currently serves as board vice president of the Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association board of directors.
Don holds a MES degree in environmental studies from The Evergreen State College, BA degree in environmental journalism from Western Washington University and a USCG 50-T Masters license.
Director of Partnerships
I've come full circle in the Northwest Straits Initiative, having previously spent 3 1/2 years as Executive Director of the Foundation, six years managing programs for the Northwest Straits Commission and four on the Jefferson MRC. I'm a self-professed aficionado of sharks, natural history dioramas, and Washington wines, and previously spent more than a decade in the nonprofit sector, much of it as External Relations Director with Pacific Marine Conservation Council. I am a passionate advocate for community-based conservation, and have served on a variety of regional advisory boards and committees. I hold extensive at-sea experience and studied marine sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Maine.
Nearshore Program Manager
I manage shoreline restoration projects on behalf of the Foundation and MRCs, and I was formerly the Restoration Manager for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. I've worked on restoration projects around the region and was key to successful implementation of the Northwest Straits Initiative's creosote debris removal program and an important partner on many nearshore projects.
Marine Projects Manager
I manage the Derelict Fishing Gear Program and Shoreline Restoration Monitoring. Prior to joining the Foundation, I worked for six years in commercial fisheries management, this helped me gain extensive field experience in the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program, and was a key component to the successful start of the IFQ Catch Monitor Program. In addition to a busy professional life, I'm an active volunteer devoting time to community outreach and environmental stewardship programs.
Proudly a Pacific Northwest native, I am a recent graduate of Western Washington University with a major in Geography/Social Studies, certification in Geographic Informational Systems (GIS) and a minor in Anthropology. At the Northwest Straits Foundation, I take on a variety of administrative duties, including managing multiple databases, fundraising support and project and grant support for the Foundation. I'm also our current GIS Technician working on maps to help tell the stories behind the projects here at the NWSF. I think being passionate about engaging people with their environment is integral to community building, place-making and sustainability. In my free time, I'll be out exploring the PNW, grabbing coffee at a local café or visiting my hometown of Port Townsend, WA.
A Maryland native, I moved to Western Washington in 2012 to pursue writing and a passion for the outdoors. In 2016, I graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in news/editorial journalism from Western Washington University. Since an early age, conservation and the upholding of wild places have been important to me. An avid skier, hiker and backpacker, the environment of Western Washington has provided recreational opportunity, peace of mind and refuge since I arrived in Bellingham. As communications specialist for the Northwest Straits Foundation, it is my job to inform the public of the work being done to protect and restore the Salish Sea.